GROEN DRAIN

An image of Milhouse surrounded by unused child designs.

Back in 2011, during a Twitter discussion about whether Milhouse’s design was inspired by Wonder Years actor Josh Saviano, Simpsons superdirector David Silverman dismissed that theory, mentioning Milhouse had originated from an unproduced Saturday morning cartoon Matt Groening had pitched to a network in the 80s, and his design was recycled for a Butterfinger commercial. I wrote about it at the time.

Silverman mentioned that cartoon again recently (the Wonder Years thing just won’t die!), and this time some more details have emerged.
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GENERAL SWARTZ-WATCH

An image of a statue of John Swartzwelder in The Simpsons.

John Swartzwelder has given his first-ever interview with The New Yorker, where the legendary Simpsons writer talks at length about his past and reflects upon his work.

This is a huge surprise, because Swartzwelder has a reputation as a mysterious, eccentric guy. As John Ortved wrote in his book, “Swartzwelder is an enigma. No one I interviewed knows much about the man, and unlike [George] Meyer, he has never given an interview or spoken publicly about himself or his work.” Fellow Simpsons writer Matt Selman blogged, “John Swartzwelder is immensely private. He would not want to be blogged about.” The only time his voice has been heard publicly is when showrunner Mike Scully called him during a DVD commentary (in an interview with the podcast Talking Simpsons, Scully says he had to give him an animation cel to get him to sign a release form). Amazingly, he still holds the record for most episodes written, even though he left the show nearly two decades ago.

In the interview, which writer Mike Sacks says was “in the works for over a year,” Swartzwelder reflects on his time in advertising and Saturday Night Live, offers some great writing advice, clarifies some misperceptions about the diner booth he installed in his home, shares his thoughts on the deification of the Simpsons writers’ room (“I know some people think of us as gods, and maybe we are. I’m not saying we’re not gods.”) and the word “Swartzweldian” (“about the most awkward-sounding word in the English language”), reveals his favorite season, and confirms the mostly-promotional Twitter account @JJSwartzwelder is him. He also mentions a cartoon he drew for George Meyer’s cult zine Army Man featuring “some nicely drawn chickens” with perfect beaks (you be the judge).

The whole thing is oozing with great jokes and is very much worth your time.

[The New Yorker]

READING DIGEST

did u ever know that ur my hero

Back in 1994, there were plans for a spinoff of The Simpsons centered around Krusty the Clown moving to Los Angeles and becoming a talk show host. The twist is that the show would’ve been live-action, with Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Krusty, starring as the character. Creator Matt Groening, who co-wrote a pilot script with The King of Queens creator Michael Weithorn, was quoted in a 1999 Entertainment Weekly article reflecting on the challenges of working in live-action:

We had this running joke in the script that Krusty was living in a house on stilts and there were beavers gnawing their way through the stilts. But somebody at the network pointed out how expensive it was to hire trained beavers — and an equally prohibitive cost would be to get mechanical beavers — so I said, “If we animated this, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

And that was absolutely everything we ever knew about the project… until now!

Simpsons expert @ThatGuy3002, known for his deep dives into scripts on Twitter, found out a lot more about the ill-fated spinoff, and shared his findings in a tweet thread:

Click through to read the whole thread, which reveals plot details about the surprisingly death-heavy pilot episode, how another Fox show about an alcoholic clown may have poisoned the well for clown-related entertainment, and what really killed the spinoff (spoiler: money). I have my doubts about the quality levels of what sounds like a Larry Sanders rip-off mixed with the 1992 Boris and Natasha movie, but I’m nevertheless fascinated by this odd footnote in Simpsons history. It doesn’t sound like production ever went any further than the script, but if any photographic evidence of Dan Castellaneta in full-blown Krusty makeup exists, please please please share it with the world.

NOSTRAD'OHMUS

The Simpsons predict the future!

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinbrugh and longtime husband to Queen Elizabeth II, has died. The world may have surprised at the shocking and unexpected death of the 99 year old monarch, but there’s at least one cartoon that wasn’t suprised at all: The Simpsons! That’s right, The Simpsons has once again predicted the future with trademark accuracy, as is their wont.

True Simpsons aficionados will undoubtedly remember the scene from 1995’s “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily,” where little Maggie Simpson creepily turns her head around and informs Bart and Lisa “Prince Phillip will die on April 9, 2021.” The line was replaced in subsequent airings, but not before causing much consternation on the newsgroups, where Simpsons dorks expressed bafflement at the reference and its complete irrelevancy to the episode’s plot. The specificity of the date will surely draw questions from the authorities, but there’s one thing for sure: we should all live in fear of The Simpsons and its unfathomable psychic powers!

THE INSIDE SCOOP

An image of the decaying ruins of Washington, DC - Fallout concept art by Craig Mullins

The Fox Network has renewed the popular television cartoon The Simpsons for yet another two seasons, ensuring audiences nationwide will still be entertained during the final months of the republic and beyond.

From the press release:

Emmy Award-winning Animation Domination kingpin THE SIMPSONS has been renewed for its 33rd and 34th seasons on FOX, carrying the series to 2023 and a total of 757 episodes. ¡Ay, caramba!

As the United States enters its death throes under the Biden regime, new episodes of The Simpsons will provide a sense of stability as our beloved homeland collapses, assuming of course that television will continue to broadcast.

This is the first renewal since Disney’s acquisition of the company formerly known as 20th Century Fox (Fox, the channel, is still owned by the Murdochs). Some had speculated the show might move to producing new episodes exclusively for Disney+, where it’s consistently one of the service’s most popular shows. In the linear world, however, ratings continue to dwindle, and The Hollywood Reporter called it a loss leader for the network. Nevertheless, fans can rest assured that the comedic antics of Homer, Bart and the other Simpsons will continue to provide a fun diversion from the corpses piling up outside.

[FOXFLASH]

NEWS BRIEFS

An image of Mrs. Krabappel reading a book while a fucked-up Bart-like creature writes on the chalkboard. Also, there is a Smarch calendar.

  • Simpsons writer Marc Wilmore, whose credits also include In Loving Color, The PJs, and F is for Family, passed away from COVID-19 complications at the age of 57. Before joining the show, he participated in a prank on a writer where he pretended to be an irate mayor. [New York Times]
  • The late Marcia Wallace will be making a posthumous g-g-guest appearance in an upcoming episode where Bart finds Mrs. Krabappel’s diary. [TheFutonCritic.com]
  • What’s going on with Bongo Comics, Matt Groening’s all-but-defunct comic book publishing company, and what does it mean for Simpsons Fun Calendars? The situation is unclear, but the hosts of the podcast Talking Simpsons tried to make sense of it. I remember one year (2001) they included a page for Smarch, and it’s those little touches that set them apart from other calendars. [Talking Simpsons (25:52)]
  • Former Instagram tech nerd Thomas Dimson used AI to create a horrible nightmare Simpsons character generator. [This Fucked Up Homer Does Not Exist via Adam B.]
LISTICLE PARADISO

An image of Homer amongst multiple Simpsons episodes.

The Simpsons is one of the most celebrated TV shows of all time, so as any Simpsons simp knows, it can be hard to narrow it down to just the classics. Undaunted by this challenge, we went through the painstaking trouble of selecting only the best 695 episodes of the series, and ranked them all in chronological order for your viewing pleasure. So crack open a Duff Brand Beer, grab a bag of Chippos, and enjoy the show! A smiley drinking soda pop and eating popcorn. Continue Reading →

WHAA...?!

An image of Bob's Fraud Log.

The dead have risen, and they’re voting Republican… or are they? Pennsylvanian patriot Bruce Bartman got in trouble, yeah, pretty deep, for the simple crime of committing voter fraud by impersonating his dead mother so he could vote for President Trump twice, an act which should henceforth be known as “doing the Bartman.”

Here’s what’s happened, dude, according to Deep State mouthpiece The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Bartman used his mother’s driver’s license to register her to vote online, and then requested and filled out an absentee ballot in her name, Stollsteimer said. He repeated the process for Weihman, his mother-in-law, using her Social Security number. The state’s system flagged the information as belonging to a dead person, but Bartman signed a letter confirming the woman was still alive.

He did not, however, cast a ballot in Weihman’s name, according to prosecutors.

Bartman is out on bail and his lawyer says he’ll cooperate with the authorities, who claim he did it, people saw him do it, and that they can prove everything, in what could be a massive blow to Trump’s re-election chances. Anyone with a notion to do the Bartman, perhaps in a rock-like motion, should heed this warning, or they too could end up in deep, deep trouble.

NOISELAND ARCADE

A mashup image of The Simpsons: Bug Squad!

Looks like Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t the only unfinished game with bugs in it!!!!!!

Cyberhackers have uncovered a tech demo for what was initially assumed to be a never-produced Simpsons video game for the Sega Dreamcast, titled The Simpsons: Bug Squad!. Produced by the now-defunct Red Lemon Studios in late 2000 to demonstrate its Toon Renderer engine to Fox Interactive, the demo consists solely of a roach clad in military gear that can jump around a cel-shaded Simpsons kitchen and TV room while Homer walks around. pcwzrd13, who got the demo to work, produced a video playthrough. Others, like Stranno, managed to get outside to the backyard, where Bart is also walking around.

Andy Campbell, a co-founder of Red Lemon Studios, clarified some things on Twitter:

Speaking of unreleased Simpsons video game stuff, series producer Matt Selman revealed last summer that his favorite Simpsons game to work on was an unreleased Mario Party-like game. The unexpected discovery of The Simpsons: Bug Squad! gives hope that perhaps we’ll get to see it someday, along with who knows what else…

[Dreamcast-Talk.com]